Bad Tyres

The UK’s leading tyre distributor to the independent tyre retail network, Micheldever Tyre Sevices, has reported an important record being broken in September and one that reflects badly, in terms of safety, on the British motoring public – the poor condition of tyres on vehicles.

According to Alan Baldwin, MTS wholesale director, the statistics on tyre tread depths compiled by the company of almost 1,000 vehicles each week from its UK locations over the past 5 years are terrifying. Over 53% of all vehicles checked have at least one tyre below the legal minimum of 1.6mm, of even greater concern is that 95.8% of vehicles have a tyre below 2mm. The September statistic was the highest figure recorded by the company in over 5 years. Compared with the pre-recession 2008 figure, which indicated 15.3% illegal and 64.2% below 2mm, puts the seriousness of the situation in perspective. MTS are major providers of tread depth information to industry bodies and UK government departments with a sample size of 50,000 vehicles checked annually.

“It is a sobering thought,” said Alan Baldwin, “that upwards of half the vehicles on UK roads have at least one illegal or badly worn tyre with the potential for an accident, particularly on wet roads.” The lack of tyre tread depth enforcement is also costing the tyre market in the UK the prospect of some 3 million replacement tyres.

“The situation around the UK,” said Alan Baldwin, “is largely the same in terms of the level of illegal and badly worn tyres and that tyre law enforcement is very disappointing. In comparison with the Spanish market for instance, an economy experiencing very tough times with a 25% unemployment rate, yet on a recent visit with a number of MTS UK dealers to one of the country’s top tyre retailers, Pneumaticos Solidad, of the tyres removed from vehicles, virtually none were below the 1.6mm legal minimum.”

As an indication of the seriousness of the situation, pictured here are two tyres removed from a car within the last week at the company’s Crawley branch. Significantly the car was in for a clutch replacement and the customer, because of cost, declined to have the tyres replaced and drove away with literally no visible tread on both tyres and exposed cords on both inside edges of the tyres.

Is the UK the worst policed tyre market in Europe? Considering the facts exposed by MTS and the unacceptable levels of part worn tyres currently being sold in the UK, the answer has to be yes!

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